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Xero Shoes Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

making walkie in a pair of xero shoes, black

Have you been considering going down the minimalist shoe route? If so, why not consider a pair of Xero shoes? They’re the ultimate shoe for those who want to feel the ground underneath them. Designed for numerous different activities, from walking and running, to hiking and climbing, their versatility makes them incredibly popular.

However, if you’ve never worn minimalist shoes before, it can be quite daunting purchasing your first pair. Will, it hurt to run? Will they damage my feet? If you’ve been using conventional shoes for the longest time, you may be worried about switching to Xero shoes.

Don’t worry though, in this super useful review we’ll look at all aspects of the Xero Shoes Prio. What are they and how do they work? It’s important to transition carefully if you’ve only ever been used to regular shoes. Fortunately, it’s easier than you think!

From how to make the jump to minimalist shoes and how long they last, to checking out their cool features and whether they’re bad for your feet, we’ve got some great tips and advice in this handy review. So if you’re ready to make your purchase but you’re not sure where to start, make sure you keep reading to find out more!

Materials & Aesthetic

First of all, let’s look at what these revolutionary shoes look like and what they’re made from. If you’re a fashion-conscious person, then these shoes probably won’t be for you. These are minimalist shoes so they’re designed to be functional and comfortable, as opposed to stylish.

Vegan-friendly materials were used to create these Xero Shoes Prio which is a big and understandable requirement for a lot of people these days. The top of the shoe is made from a breathable mesh which is a huge bonus as it’s so important for your feet to be able to breathe when you’re exercising.

The rubber sole is a 5.5mm sole that has been engineered to give you that barefoot feel, whilst still protecting you from potential infections and other nasties. The insole is removable and there’s quite a big difference between using the insole and not. Your running form will likely improve since not using the insole will enable you to feel the ground more, you’ll probably find yourself being lighter on your feet.

The rubber sole is also very grippy, however, it’s not recommended to wear them in icy cold conditions as they’re not insulated or waterproof. The clever sole design has arrows pointing backward and forwards to provide grip when you’re traveling uphill and downhill.

Xero also offers a 5000-mile warranty on their shoes. If the heel or ball of the sole wears down to 1mm, they’ll replace them for you at 60 percent of the retail price!

Features

Now let’s take a look at some of the features of these brilliant Xero Shoes Prio. One feature that stands out is the fact that they’re incredibly flexible. Not just a little bit, we’re talking, fold-them-in-half flexible! This means they’re space-saving, perfect if you’re heading out on a long trip and you need to pack a lot of stuff. However, it’s not advisable to leave them folded up as this could damage the materials.

This flexibility allows you to move freely, making the Xero Shoes Prio super comfortable. They’re lightweight as well and if you’ve ever gone traveling or backpacking, you’ll know the importance of packing light! Hauling a heavy rucksack around with you can be torturous, especially in hot conditions.

It also means that you’ll barely feel them, which also adds to the comfort. When you’re out hiking or traveling for long periods, your feet can swell which could cause discomfort inside a pair of regular shoes. The Xero Shoes Prio feature a wide toe box that allows your toes to spread out and breathe more. Plus, if you have wide feet, then a wider toe box will be more comfortable overall.

Many conventional sports shoes have a drop between the heel to the toe. Xero shoes don’t have this. Their zero-drop sole helps you to balance more and have better posture and it takes the weight off the more delicate areas of your foot.

Durability

Xero Shoes Prio are definitely built to last! Their versatility means they can be used for many different disciplines. If you’re a serious hiker, you’re sure to love them. The wide toe box will stop your foot from experiencing discomfort and the lightweight materials won’t make you feel weighed down by them.

They’ve been carefully designed and manufactured to let you move how you were intended to. You can feel the ground beneath you thanks to these shoes. The great thing about them is that even though they allow you to have complete freedom, their rugged and tough design protects you from any nasty stuff on the ground when you’re running.

Another feature that adds to their durability is the FeelTrue rubber outsole. This is the only outsole that is specifically meant for barefoot running. Working with some of the best outsole manufacturers in the world, Xero has made significant improvements to its already successful outsoles.

Everyone’s feet are a different shape, and the FeelTrue rubber outsole is perfectly contoured to fit your foot shape, without giving any unnecessary support. It’s been shown that shoes with arches can make your foot weaker as they don’t have to support themselves. Whereas, if you switch to a minimalist shoe, the strength and muscles in your foot can improve significantly.

The 5000-mile sole warranty shows how durable these cleverly designed Xero Shoes Prio are. Their abrasion resistance is second to none, and the flexibility means you’ll stay comfortable whilst being completely protected.

The high-quality outsole also keeps its shape too and the toe spring keeps your foot closer to the sole. Although this shoe has been engineered for practicality over fashion, the design is undeniably more elegant than your average minimalist shoes. The ingenious sole pattern provides traction in both slippery and dry conditions and it’s manufactured from partly recycled materials.

Size & Fit

If you’re in-between shoe sizes you’ll know how frustrating it is to find shoes that fit correctly. Xero has an incredibly useful sizing guide on their website and according to it, the Xero Shoes Prio are true to size in both the men’s and women’s styles.

They also come in half sizes to make it even more convenient. Shoes, especially minimalist styles need to fit perfectly and if you’re in between sizes, sizing up or down could result in a bad fit, reducing their performance and potentially causing you discomfort.

All Xero shoes are wider than regular shoes. If you find that you have to go for a bigger size in normal shoes to get a wider fit, you probably won’t have to do that with the Prio shoes. Keep in mind that leather and other natural materials will stretch with wear, and given that these shoes are true to size, it’s probably a good idea to go with your normal size.

If you’re a woman and you need a wider fit, consider opting for the men’s style which could give a more comfortable fit and improve overall performance. The same goes for men as well, if men’s styles are too wide, try ordering a women’s style for a narrower fit. If you do find that you ordered the wrong size, Xero offers free returns within the United States.

Xero offers a great range of sizes and half sizes, from US 6.5 to 15 for men and US 5 to 11 for women. They’re also available in children’s sizes, so you can equip your mini hiker with a great set of Xero Shoes Prio!

Pros and Cons

With any purchase, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons. This is especially important if this is your first pair of minimalist shoes. One of the main advantages of buying a barefoot shoe for running is that it forces your foot muscles to strengthen.

It’s argued that conventional shoes cause your feet to become weak. Running with no support could strengthen the muscles and ligaments. When you run barefoot or wear minimalist shoes, it normally results in you putting your midfoot down first rather than your heel.

Putting your heel down first is because your feet land in front of your hips and it slows you down. With very little support your muscles all the way up to your calves spring into action. This results in a better technique and balance when running.

On the flip side, using minimalist shoes to go and run marathons is a disaster waiting to happen. When you run, your body has to absorb a massive impact. The cushioning and support that traditional running shoes offer, absorbs most of the impact.

When you run barefoot or you opt for a minimalist shoe, the shock will be absorbed by all the muscles and tendons in your foot. Even your ankles and hips will have to contribute too. Jumping straight into barefoot running could result in painful shin splints and even fractures.

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, it’s even more important to switch carefully. The thick soles of traditional shoes support the plantar fascia, the connective tissue that joins your heel to the ball of your foot. If you go barefoot without any careful training to begin with, you risk straining your plantar fascia resulting in this painful complaint.

If you’ve been used to regular running shoes for a long time, chances are the skin on your soles is very soft. Barefoot or minimalist shoe running will harden the skin so it’s highly likely you’ll suffer from blisters to begin with. If you’ve got the patience to take the time to adjust to barefoot running, it could be a great option for you. If you’re not patient, there’s a strong chance of injury from jumping in too soon.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for your first barefoot running shoe, the Xero Shoes Prio is an excellent choice. They have been cleverly designed and manufactured to a high standard – these are barefoot shoes that were built to last!

Although they’re not a fashion shoe, the Xero Shoes Prio do have a smarter appearance than other minimalist shoes on the market. They were built to be functional and that’s exactly what they do. Their natural shape allows your foot to fit comfortably with room to breathe.

It’s flexibility and lightweight design will also prove invaluable on long walks and hiking trips. The fact that it’s made from vegan-friendly materials is a massive bonus as well. More and more people are turning vegan and being safe in the knowledge that no animals were harmed in the making of these shoes makes them even better.

The Huarache style instep strap means you get an almost custom fit. The straps are also reflective, which is perfect for early morning or late evening runs, or if you’re running in poor lighting conditions. The mesh upper makes them very breathable and you could wear them with or without socks, depending on your personal preference.

Overall the Xero Shoes Prio are great shoes to own, and if you’re serious about becoming a barefoot runner, they could become an invaluable asset!

FAQ

Are Xero Shoes good?

If you’re looking for a good barefoot running shoe, then the Xero Shoes Prio is definitely a good choice. The overall design has been well made and they’re built for functionality and comfort. In this review, we’ve talked about the importance of carefully acclimatizing yourself to barefoot running. Although these are good shoes if used correctly, misuse could result in injuries. We’ll talk about how to transition to barefoot running a little later in the review.

The 5000-mile warranty on these Xero shoes makes them all the more attractive. However, keep in mind that this does only apply to the heel and the ball of the foot, it doesn’t cover any wear around the edges. They do offer a 12 warranty on any fabrication defects though.

Something else that makes this running shoe so cool is how many colorways it’s available in. If you want something that stands out why not go for the yellow trim? If you prefer a more subtle look, then the black and white design would suit you perfectly.

The Xero Shoes Prio are great and as long as they’re used correctly, they’ll make your running experience even better!

How long do Xero shoes last?

This all depends on many different factors. How often do you wear them? What activities do you use them for? Their high-quality materials mean that they are designed to last. However, if you’re subjecting them to brutal work regularly, they probably won’t last as long as they would if you were only using them a few times a week.

Even if they become your favorite shoe, you may find yourself reaching for them a little less during the winter. They’re not waterproof or insulated, so depending on how cold the area you live in is, they may not be warm enough.

If you only use them a few times a week for a run then you can expect them to last even longer, maybe a few years. However, these Xero shoes have still been manufactured to withstand tough treatment in different conditions.

Even if your Xero Shoes Prio give out, you could always use them for odd DIY jobs or outdoor yard work. Although these aren’t the most expensive barefoot shoes on the market, they still have a pretty high price tag, so you can expect to get your money’s worth out of them.

Are minimalist shoes bad for your feet?

If you’ve been continually using regular running shoes for a long time, and then you buy a pair of barefoot shoes and immediately start hitting the running circuit, you’ll inevitably suffer injuries.

Running barefoot could improve your running performance, however, this may have more to do with the striding rather than the shoe. No one knows whether a minimalist shoe would lessen the chance of injury compared to regular shoes.

Improving your stride is the best way to reduce your chance of injuries. Good form can help protect you from bothersome injuries and improve your running performance better than any shoes.

When it comes to running strides, it seems that barefoot runners tend to land with the midfoot first. Unlike traditional running shoe-clad runners who tend to land heel first. The reason this makes a difference is that landing on the midfoot is a much better shock absorber than the heel.

As well as hitting the ground harder, landing on your heel also means you’re probably running with stiff legs. This creates more force that radiates up your body. Barefoot runners commonly run with bent knees and softer ankles, meaning they’ll absorb the shock better.

Why are Xero shoes so expensive?

If you review any other minimalist running shoes, you’ll see that the Xero Shoes Prio aren’t ridiculously expensive. There are shoes on the market that have higher price tags and may not be as good quality. Xero Shoes Prio are popular for a reason; they’re cleverly designed and made to last.

You may be thinking, well they use fewer materials, why aren’t they cheaper? Many products aren’t just priced on what they cost to manufacture. If it’s a popular product, the price is likely to go up. If they’re manufactured in the US that will likely cost more as well, unlike China where it’s incredibly cheap to make products.

Another good point is that, quite often, you get what you pay for. If you buy cheap products you’ll likely have to keep replacing them, and this could cost you more in the long run. However, if you think of a pair of Xero shoes as an investment in your health, it makes much more sense.

The Xero Prio shoes are designed to last a long time and if you’re able to get a few years of wear out of them, you can be sure it’s money well spent!

How do you transition to minimalist shoes?

If you see people running barefoot effortlessly down the beach, remember that they’ve probably spent months, maybe years perfecting their technique and conditioning themselves to run without shoes.

You’ll probably be really excited to get started on your barefoot journey, but it’s really important to take it steady. You could start by wearing your new Xero shoes for short walks every day, to get used to the feeling of them. Once you feel comfortable, gradually increase your time every day.

If you’ve been wearing traditional running shoes for a long time, you’ll need to condition the soles to withstand impact on hard ground. The best way to this is to move to a thinner soled regular shoe before using a proper minimalist shoe.

Years of wearing conventional shoes mean the Achilles tendon can contract. Once you start wearing minimalist footwear, that tendon should return to normal. Patience is a key thing to have here.

The bottom line is, it can take years for the damage to ligaments and tendons from wearing conventional shoes to occur, so don’t expect any rehabilitation to happen overnight. Many people don’t allow enough time for themselves to adjust to this new way of life. The hard truth is, it does take time to transition, so be patient and enjoy the process!

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